Producerism is a unique view of political and social philosophy. To completely understand this theory, we first have to establish how ideologies are constructed. For any ideology, it is important that there is a base value. There must be some value-judgment above all other value-judgments. (There are two other key requirements for a set of ideas to be an ideology, but we will deal with them later.)
For libertarianism I have identified the base value as efficiency. When presented with a choice between the value of liberty and the value of efficiency, most libertarians will choose efficiency. This value of efficiency is not necessarily the creation of the best possible GDP, but rather preventing unnecessary waste and striving towards goals in the best possible manner. On an individual level, efficiency means organizing one’s life so as to create the best path between a person and his goals.
This is why mainstream libertarians mostly advocate for liberty due to its efficiency. There has never been a libertarian who thinks that liberty is less efficient than the lack of it. The closest we get to this are those with immense classical anarchist influences, but their significance is constantly being reduced. One could also say that Rothbard valued liberty as self-ownership more than he valued efficiency, but his political action demonstrates otherwise. He was quite willing to ally with people who did not see liberty as the most valuable goal as long as he viewed them as the most expedient way to reach a particular goal. Even Walter Block, who frequently makes moral arguments for traditionally immoral behavior, supports libertarianism in large part because of purely economic reasons. His support of philosophical libertarianism has always taken a backseat to economic libertarianism. (In this context, we are speaking about Austrian economics and not neo-liberal economics; the Austrian School cares less about maximizing monetary value and more about individuals striving towards any goal that they value.)
Libertarians may claim that their key value is liberty, but if liberty brought universal misery, decay, and poverty, they would be the first to abandon their current ideal. We can see this in practice, as most people who abandon libertarianism slingshot toward the most authoritarian version of their new persuasion, whether they become Stalinists or national socialists (or even both). However, in reality, we know that liberty brings the most efficient form of organization. This does not mean that it is simple to establish a regime of liberty, but simply that people best achieve their chosen goals when they are given the freedom to do so.
Socialists, on the other hand, value equality above all other values. To a libertarian this seems odd; equality is inefficient and thus useless. But the socialist would rather have everyone equally poor than some unequally rich. However, the American socialist still functions within classical liberal cultural assumptions. The American people value efficiency far more than most other cultures. This means that American socialists will also constantly appeal to efficiency, but they do so to justify socialism as they do not actually value this efficiency.
Both of these values are ultimately arbitrary; there is nothing that makes efficiency objectively correct or that makes equality objectively desirable. The necessity to construct an ideology from principles that approach objectivity is thus clear. We cannot see the world without ideology; the best we can do is to switch the lenses of ideology so fast that it becomes unnoticeable. The only solution to this is producerism.
And finally, let us mention the other two key components for ideologies. One can be described as the secondary value or end goal, one that backs up the base value. For libertarianism, this would be property. For the libertarian, the moral value of efficiency should ultimately create a regime of full property ownership. The other is the method of analysis employed by different ideologies. This is a key part that differentiates left- and right-libertarians. Left-libertarians tend to focus on materialism and empirical data, while right-libertarians tend to be more concerned with rational systems and the results of applying moral principles.
Let us begin with Ayn Rand. Rand posited that there are ultimately only two forms of value. One can either be dead or alive. One can prefer death, or one can prefer life. One can discount the possibility of valuing death, as all sane people will always value life, at least to a degree. The only section of the population that does not value life are the insane, or in the politically correct vernacular, mentally ill people. Thus, valuing life is the closest we get to an objective value. This means that the fundamental value for producerism is life. But life does not exist in a void, there needs to be production to facilitate life.
Producerism, as a term, is not a unique one. It is associated with the populist right and their focus on traditional middle-class values. Producerism mostly aligns with the same values. But for producerism to be a useful philosophy, it must be properly contextualized. First, we need to apply producerism to individual lives. This lies outside the broad apolitical theory that producerism signifies, but is still a useful application. The first step of this would be to categorize humans into two groups. The first is people who live to produce; the second is people who live to destroy. This can also help us understand what degeneracy means on an individual basis. Those who live towards destruction can be properly categorized as degenerates and maladjusts. Living for destruction is an ontological conflict.
Life, by its very nature is productive insofar as it exists to self-improve and self-perpetuate. This means that those humans who do not use their lives to produce anything are inherently misusing their life. But this does not mean that each unproductive or destructive action must be necessarily evil or wrong. We can all strive towards the saintly ideal of perfect production, life with no destructive vice. But this metric cannot be applied to most people. Someone who constantly engages in vice might make up for it by creating something that leaves such a positive impact as to compensate for his vice.
This fits well into my theory of privatizing society. Many people in the Outer Right signal their supposed ideal that all vice needs to be violently eliminated, but this is not necessarily the case. It is true that those who live for destruction can only be described as living in a cancerous state, but all vice does not inherently cause a person to live for destruction. When society is fully privatized in a perfect manner, exclusion becomes a matter of removing those who live for destruction. This is because all people in a society lose value when sharing a society with those who abuse that society, and society itself is a scarce good that retains value.
The individual application of producerism is far less important when contrasted with the apolitical application, and producerism is thoroughly apolitical. It can be seen as a political philosophy that is entirely focused on functioning outside politics. This is necessary because of the mutual co-dependence of society and civilization. Society is the nexus of values; when values are shared across a society, it creates a civilization. For example, when Peter feels that red is the most beautiful color, he is doing so within a society. If others follow Peter’s judgment of red as being inherently beautiful, the beauty of red becomes a part of that civilization. For instance, in the Russian language, the word for red is almost the same as the word for beautiful because of that attitude. Conversely, if a culture is based on the concept that work is a virtue in itself, most individuals will be driven to work. And if work is in reality a virtue, the culture drives most people to virtue. However, if a culture has a core value of egalitarianism, it drives most people to seek equality. This is unimaginably destructive, since equality will cause fundamental damage to a social order.
There is a feedback loop between creating civilizational values and having an established set of civilizational values. The better a civilization becomes, the more civilizing forces there will be. This requires an inherent degree of separation when we try to improve society and civilization. If we are to improve civilization at the cost of society or vice versa, we will ultimately find ourselves damaging both.
This makes a lack of specialization in these fields untenable. We can only improve civilization by only improving that civilization; the same is true for society. This is because a person who is trying to improve both at once will have to engage in trade-offs. For example, if an artist is also trying to be a social activist, he has to either sacrifice the values in his art and create a lesser overall product, or give up art altogether for the sake of being a social activist. However, if an artist tacitly ingrains his values into his art, he can create masterpieces that also spread his values. Classical masters did not imbue their art with the politics of their time, but their art still makes a significant statement. But this has an important corollary: if we improve one of the two, we improve both. And if we can improve both from the inside, we can create a productive spiral towards an ideal.
Instead of trying to get a firm grasp on the political apparatus, we ought to improve that which we can improve. Trying to do both at once will always lead to having to make sacrifices which are ultimately destructive. If one is blessed with a sociable nature, the best one can do is to create connections, lead people towards an ideal of connectedness, and imbue individuals with a higher regard for production. But if that person is instead talented in the arts, it is in his power to change the landscape in which aesthetic values are conceptualized to make people embrace that which is good.
However, destructivism is a similarly powerful strategy, with the important aspect that one is able to destroy both society and civilization at the same time. But when there is an agent that has acquired a controlling position over civilization and society, trade-offs are inevitable. And when one sacrifices civilization or society for the sake of building the other, the result will be a decay in both.We can look at Communist Russia and late 19th-century America as examples of this tendency. In Russia, the Bolsheviks seized the power over both art and interpersonal relationships. The art that the communist state created was created solely to promote the communist regime and philosophy. The social control of the communists created decay in relationships between family members or friends because communism is fundamentally an anti-social system. This further reinforced the destruction of civilizational values.
During the Progressive Era in the United States, the government increasingly got involved in both society and civilization, trying to improve both simultaneously. One such measure was the progressive school system, which was designed to get competitive young members of society locked up in schools for economic reasons and prevent the perceived social ills of idle young men. Furthermore, it was adapted from the Prussian school system, which was designed to further the power of the military. The school system was ultimately a perceived measure of improving society, but it sacrificed various civilizational values. It was an institution that was against efficient economic organization, strong familial relations, and individual growth and responsibility. Due to these values not being instilled in children, we have seen even worse social ills erupt.
Another example is Prohibition, which attempted to promote civilizational values such as temperance. To do so, the government sacrificed the social values of interpersonal trade and bonding over drinks. The result of this was a giant growth of black markets and an environment of alcohol consumption that was less inclined toward bonding. This era ended with civilizational values breaking down in a gang war between the state and various organized crime factions. In all of these circumstances, we can see how trying to use trade-offs for producing virtue results in adverse effects for both society and civilization.
Increasing this tendency is easy, but most people do not hate life and as such will not try to destroy these values. Most of this destruction is incidental and created out of incompetence. This leads us to the necessity of determining what increases production and how we can increase it. There are two methods for increasing the production of values. The first is improving the amount of productive social relations. It has been proven that people with productive social relationships are more successful, happier, and generally better off. This is integral towards creating civilization and maintaining a societal order. However, destructive social relationships have the exact opposite effect. One can improve social relationships by encouraging people to join organized religion or any other kind of virtuous community. No matter one’s religious views, religion has always been an effective way for people to find community and values.
The other possibility for improving a civilizational order is to increase the quality of the relations between people. The best way to do this is to remove all state influence. When every interaction has people looking down the barrel of an implicit gun, interactions will necessarily deteriorate. When people are allowed to peacefully interact without being restricted by force, those interactions will always have better outcomes in the long run. A spontaneous order is desirable if people are to enjoy a higher quality of life and a more consistent morality. Improving the human condition is dependent on whether or not people are restricted by aggressive force.
Leaving people free of state restriction also leaves them free to live for destruction, but this possibility is irrelevant. Most people have a far better understanding of how to live for production than the state does. Restrictions on people’s activities by a central agency with interests mainly in the proliferation of its own power will only tend to aid the state. Thus, it is vital to understand that the state is not a desirable source for preventing destructive behavior in individual people. Furthermore, we cannot only conceptualize society as that which does not bring profits. Organizations created for the purpose of profit are an integral part of society. If people have a greater freedom to seek profit without using aggressive violence, the generated wealth will greatly allow for producing that particular value.
The other side of the coin is that which is good for civilization. It is far easier to discover these values. To sustain a civilization, it is necessary to always value rationality above irrationality. Although rational judgment cannot solve all issues, it will allow for civilization to exist. Civilization will also need to value the concept of the individual; without doing so, envy alongside other ills will destroy that civilization. This does not require a worship of the individual, but rather the simple distinction between unique actions of unique people.
Occidental and Oriental Civilizations
To go farther, we need to find particular values that help civilizations prosper. This leads us to a rational conclusion of analyzing the values of the Far East and the Occident, as those two areas have created the most successful civilizations throughout history. The most counter-intuitive thing we can find from the Occident is the concept of a gynocentric patriarchy, a society in which the men traditionally have the ultimate power, but only as trustees. And although women cannot physically overpower men, the strong sense of honor has prevented men from tolerating harm against women. We can view this as a market trade between Western women and men. Men have the responsibility of protecting their women from all harm, and in exchange they can exercise the power necessary to do so.
This is reflected in the differences of mate choice between different cultures. The West is unique in that it is the only culture that has allowed women the ability to discriminate between mates, and this is necessary for the advancement of the genetic stock. When men are able to exercise mate choice, they will do so recklessly, as they have no consequence for it. We can see this play out with the massive amount of inbreeding in various patriarchal systems. Women have a far greater need for responsibility, as they suffer the entire ordeal of pregnancy and childbirth. Furthermore, women can have a limited amount of children while men can procreate endlessly. This leads women to more rationally appropriate the value of the ability to bear children, which is a scarce resource, to the best-suited men.
We can see that civilizations that deny this tend to have a greater proclivity towards in-breeding and dysgenics. The African and Islamic nations, which have the greatest degree of patriarchy while giving women the least autonomy, are more inbred, have lower IQ averages, and have barely accumulated sustainable wealth. The current prosperity of the Middle East was entirely created before the CIA-backed Islamist revival, and is only sustained by profiting off their vast abundance of natural resources. This can allow for a proper view of patriarchy. The concern is that female dominance would promote a form of polygamy in which the best men find themselves with the most women. But the nature of pair-bonding makes this concern fairly irrelevant; most people simply do not prefer to be in polygamous relationships. Furthermore, we can see improper patriarchies practice polygamy for the power-elite, which is incredibly dysgenic. State power is not allocated through rational means; rather, it is obtained by chance, demagoguery, or violence. This means that those who wield state power are not selected for good genetics, and practicing polygamy for a meritless group prevents those of actually good genetic stock from finding mates.
Another important value in the Far East and Occident is a general merchant culture. This may seem strange to the far-right, but the West and Far East have always had respect for the craft of trade. This is visible from guilds in the West to craftsmanship in the East. Furthermore, these are the only cultures that view the customer as the object of trade. In other nations, we see the seller being defined as the primary benefactor from trade where the customer only facilitates the profits of the one selling goods. This also lead the West to accept the industrial bourgeoisie, who were able to bring a healthy mode of free market production. This lasted until the 20th century, when the influence of the state defeated the instrumental power of relatively unhindered trade.
As for the religions of the West and the Far East, they tend to be quiet religions focused on cultivating virtue instead of trying to achieve concrete results. We can characterize this as a sort of trust in the metaphysical order, while other religions are concerned with manipulating it. This forms a sacral realism in which the consequences of reality are accepted to be imbued with will that leads to justice. The apex of this could be seen in the Christian view of Providence, where God looks over and maintains the entire order of the universe. Thus, each Christian can always resort to Providence and trust in reality itself. This is also reflected in the Shinto view of each object being imbued with a spirit. This is insofar as inactivity is not promoted under the auspice that all conflicts will eventually be righteously solved by God.
An additional value that allows the Occident to sustain its civilization is that of absolute honesty. Deceit is a fairly unique vice in the Western tradition. Many other cultures do not place moral significance to lying; we can see this from various experiments and from the fact that corruption is endemic to geographical regions. To understand the importance of honesty, we can take inspiration from propertarianism and its concept of testimonialism. Concisely put, testimonialism is the belief that we gain our knowledge from testimony; that is, we trust that other people represent reality correctly. This is an interesting exercise in epistemology, but even more interesting when practically applied. The Western notion of the militia has historically been able to unite the testimony of a large section of the male population in order to achieve the goals of that population. Another aspect of this is the fact that Western people respect the division of labor; they trust others to do honest work only from the testimony of the people who do that work.
Responsibility and Accountability
Responsibility itself is unknown in many cultures outside the Occident-Orient spectrum. Personal accountability is a fundamental requirement for a group of people to be able to produce any sort of society. Having responsibility as a fundamental value is also necessary to sustain a reproductive order. We can see what happens otherwise in African-American communities which struggle with single motherhood and the harmful effects thereof. This is not to say that this is a necessary part of the African-American culture, nor to dismiss the effect of the welfare state on responsibility. But promiscuity is not the only bad effect of a lack of responsibility.
To further analyze responsibility, we need to split it in two. First, there is individual responsibility. Each individual needs to internalize the costs of all of his actions; causing other people harm is unethical and rightfully scorned. When all costs are internalized, the social order is only met with the benefits of individual action and is always improving. Second, there is social responsibility. This is the responsibility a person feels towards his family, community, tribe, thede, and nation. Social responsibility aids in having each person work towards the betterment of his own environment and not only of himself. We can see this in the concept of respecting the environment, which is rarely a part of government policy in Africa, the Middle East, or Asia.
The concept of responsibility is also integrated with merchant culture. Since each person has their craft and their niche in the division of labor, each person can never get more out of the market than they put in without facing scorn. This creates the economic growth we see in Western and Eastern societies. Each person who gets more out of the marketplace than they put in is seen as a thief. This is reflected in law, as fraud is considered one of the worst nonviolent crimes people can commit, sometimes even judged more harshly than overt theft.
The fact that producerists aim to create the most production does not mean that those who are not producerists may want to create less life. However, as each non-producerist does not take life itself as the ultimate goal, they will always be less efficient in producing the values necessary for life. Lastly, it would be impossible to catalogue all values that create life in a single article. However, these values are truly endless, not in that any value can be a fundamental building block of civilization, but rather that everything that goes into building civilization is too complex to simplify to a limited number of values. The task of dissecting various cultures and analyzing values that help nations flourish is an immense and valuable field of research.